“Being a budding artist and veritable gadget geek I have always been monitoring how the digital revolution could make my art evolve in unforeseen directions and allow me to be creative whenever and wherever I wanted,” says last month’s Most Valued Connector (MVC) Phil Galloway.
Needless to say, he was overjoyed when it became possible to make art on his Lumia 1520. As he puts it, “I was sold, I wanted a go and by golly, so should you!”
To help as many people as possible share his excitement, Phil agreed to send us his ten tips for wannabe Lumia artists. As I’m sure you’ll remember, we published the first five a short while ago. For those of you who have your brushes at the ready for more, let’s see what else he has in his portfolio of advice!
6. Brush up
Not having a real life brush in your hand and seeing how the paint is covering it, or how much of one colour is loaded on one side, for example, means that you could be limited by not knowing how the app will react when you make your strokes. This is where you can really tell the difference between Fresh Paint and other painting apps, for both mindless fun and professional creations alike. While other apps on other platforms have created a series of stroke shapes that are seemingly picked at random, Fresh Paint watches how you are mixing your colours and interprets how this will manifest on the brush.
Keep an eye on the brush thickness selector when mixing your paint or watercolours and watch how it will change colour in stages, making interesting patterns. Mixing the paint in the palette will also change the characteristics of your brush strokes from thick rounded ends to sharp edges and wisps depending on your finger flicks as you mix. Experiment and mess about and you will quickly see how you can use this to your advantage, for instance when painting fine details or looking for a certain bold stroke.
7. Wash Up
An artist should be mindful of what is on their brush and palette at all times, and this is no different when painting on a mobile phone. When wanting to lighten or darken a colour it is quite easy to overload the palette by for example selecting white and splodging too much into your mix. Try and dab a little of your desired shade into the palette, then use the wash brush tool (the one depicting a brush with bubbles on it), then go back and mix the paint. This regulates your mixing and allows for close control in shade selection.
When applying paint to the app canvas you can always hit the ‘back’ button and undo an unwanted stroke or dot. This, however, is not the case when mixing. There is nothing worse than creating the perfect skin tone and then sploshing too much of one colour into it, as it’s mighty tough to get that initial colour back. Likewise, you should wash your palette (the wee picture in the menu of a palette with bubbles on it) regularly so as to not muddy your colours once you have mixed the perfect tone on your brush.
Just remember not to wash the brush and palette at the same time, though, as you will lose the entire colour you have just mixed and may be tempted to throw an artist strop and launch your beloved Lumia at the cat.
8. Dry time
A pain for any artist is the drying time of their chosen medium; this is particularly tedious when working with oils. With Fresh Paint you don’t have to worry and while away the drying time by growing your beard or reading War and peace! Just click the ‘fan’ icon and sit back smugly, knowing your canvas is instantly dry. This is a huge bonus when putting the finishing touches to a painting or adding highlights to your work. However, exercise your arid powers with caution, as once you have dried you work and applied new paint on top, you can no longer blend or rework the dried layer below.
9. Save as you go
Having the ability to save your masterpiece to your saved pictures or OneDrive and then continue to rework and play with the paint is a boon for any creative. At any point when I feel I have got something on the canvas that I really like, I click the disk symbol and keep working. By the end of the creative process I will have saved numerous versions of the same picture. I can then scroll through them on the beautiful screen of my Lumia 1520 and assess which I like best in terms of composition and colour, etc. This is also great for monitoring your own workflow and sharing stages of the painting online to your adoring fans.
10. Set your painting free!
My final tip would be to use the share button within the app and get your work out there. There is an ever-growing world of digital artists out there on social media and your work should join theirs proudly. You can also find Fresh Paint groups and threads on Reddit, Flickr and Facebook specifically for users of the app where you can show your work, gain inspiration and receive feedback from like-minded folk.
For sharing your paintings in the real world, I would recommend you print them off, frame them and hang them up for all to see! I was amazed at how well the digital paintings transferred to real paper along with how big prints you could get from a mobile device! They look vibrant, sharp and will beautifully fool the viewer into believing they are gazing upon a real painting.
“Hopefully these tips will have given you the confidence to experiment with your phone and Fresh Paint and to become a master digital dauber,” says Phil. We hope so, too, and we’re ever so keen to see your results, so please post them in the comments thread below. As for any questions, Phil will be sure to check our comments as well as talk to you directly via Twitter. Now just follow Phil’s advice: “Have fun and be bold!”